She is in 26th place in the Sprint Cup standings after nine starts, with only one To 10 finish (eighth, Daytona).
Now back at the only other super-speedway on the circuit in Talladega, Patrick hopes to find a comfort level outside of the usual 1.5 mile grinds that have been so troublesome for her. She will race in the Aaron's 499 Sunday afternoon.
"I suppose it’s fair to say that there should be a little spike in expectation, but you also have to take into consideration on these big speedways that there is a whole lot of luck that comes into it," Patrick said Friday before practice at Talladega. "Everything has got to be clean. The stops have to be good. You have to stay in the pack no issues, not getting caught up in an accident.
"From what I remember last year even at Talladega it was more of a pack race than Daytona even. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Obviously, this is a wider track than Daytona so when we start getting four-wide that is when stuff starts to get a little exciting. We will just have to hope that we are in the right place at the right time.”
Patrick said it's more of comfort than confidence navigating though traffic in the bigger tracks.
“I don’t know if the confidence level shifts a tremendous amount as much as the comfort level does," she said. "Just being comfortable on these big speedways and comfortable with this pack style racing that I was so used to in IndyCar on the ovals. Just having a feel for it, it is something that I probably caught on to quicker than anything in stock car racing. I guess I show up here and it’s just a little bit more comfortable.”
UInfortunately, she is not alone when it comes to struggles for the Stewart-Has Racing team, which includes three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart. He is 22nd in Cup standings, while Ryan Newman is 16th.